South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings addressed questions at the end of the Electoral Reform Town Hall held in Castlegar on Thursday.

South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP holds Electoral Reform Town Hall in Castlegar

West Kootenay residents weighed in on electoral reform at MP Richard Cannings' Electoral Reform Town Hall in Castlegar.

West Kootenay residents weighed in on electoral reform at Thursday night’s Electoral Reform Town Hall in Castlegar.

The town hall was hosted by MP Richard Cannings, who was gathering information to submit to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) created by the House of Commons on June 7, in keeping with the promise made by the Liberals during the last election. The ERRE’s mandate is “to identify and conduct a study of viable alternate voting systems to replace the first-past-the-post system, as well as to examine mandatory voting and online voting.”

Attendees at the town hall discussed all three of these issues, as well as the possibility of lowering the voting age to 16. Of the 16 people who spoke at the town hall, 14 made it clear they supported some form of proportional representation (PR) electoral system where the number of seats a party holds in the House is equal to its percentage of the popular vote while one said he needed more time to consider the different voting systems, and another spoke to voting age and mandatory voting without addressing the voting system issue.

The two most discussed voting systems during the evening were mixed-member proportional (MMP), which is is supported by the NDP, and single transferable vote (STV).

MMP is used in nine countries in the world, including Germany and New Zealand. Voters have two votes per ballot one vote for a local candidate and the other for a party and parties can win both constituency seats and list seats. Constituency seats are won using first past the post system, while list seats are used to top up a party’s MPs so that its number of seats matches its percentage of the popular vote. Before the election, parties choose and rank the list candidates, and how many are elected depends on how may top up votes the party gets. There is a minimum threshold of votes that a party needs to hit before it gets a seat.

STV is used in two countries, Ireland and Malta, and is considered semi-proportional, as the results are relatively proportional and grow more so with larger ridings that have more MPs. Voters rank candidates on their ballots, usually voting in more than one MP for their riding. For a candidate to be elected, they have to receive a certain quota, which is calculated based on the number of votes in a riding and how many seats are available. When a candidate reaches the quota, excess ballots are transferred to the voters’ next choice. If no candidate reaches the quota, then the candidate who’s in last place is eliminated, and those votes are transferred to the voters’ second choice. This continues until all seats in the riding are filled. The process of counting votes can’t begin until all votes are in and it may take some time before the results are determined.

There wasn’t much support for mandatory voting at the town hall, but one woman said she’d consider it. Speakers were both in favour of and against online voting. Those for it hoped it would encourage more people to vote, while those against had security concerns. Many were in favour of lowering the voting age to 16.

Those who weren’t able to attend or who have more to say can submit a brief to the ERRE or fill out an online questionnaire by visiting parl.gc.ca/Committees/en/ERRE before 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7.

Just Posted

Rossland’s Seven Summits Centre for Learning celebrates class of 2019

Small class packs big punch in skills and ability

Women, children escaping domestic violence have few options in Nelson

The 11th annual Report Card on Homelessness shows a need for women’s housing

First Nations included in latest Columbia River Treaty talks

Seventh round of negotiations between Canada and U.S. wrap up in Washington D.C.

Close to 1000 people expected to hear international evangelist Angus Buchan this weekend

The Mighty Men’s Conference is taking place in Castlegar June 28-30.

Three times the love: Identical triplets return home to Nelson

Katherine van der Veen gave birth to Ainsley, Olivia and Abigail last month

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from B.C. furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Rising gas prices force B.C. residents to rethink summer road trips: poll

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

Most Read